AGOG presents George Oliver: Towards The Centre

Meet the Artist Reception: 3pm to 5pm Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014
All welcome.

AGOG is very please to present George Oliver’s exhibit of photography Towards The Centre. George writes,

Poster George Oliver-500

My name is George Oliver and I live in Invermere, BC.  On my road to this point I have been a ranch-hand, a wooden boat builder, and a school teacher.  I now work as a house carpenter.  I enjoy photography and artwork as expression, and as a way to explore my inner and outer world.   When I’m not looking through my camera or creating in the studio, I enjoy rambling in the mountains or absorbing the serenity of the Columbia Wetlands.

The photos in this exhibit were shot on two trips; a late summer trip across the plains to SE Saskatchewan, Northern Montana and South Alberta, and a winter trip to the Mojave and Sonoran deserts of California, Arizona and Nevada.  I am attracted to these places because the environment is the polar opposite of my home in the Columbia Valley, and that difference affords a new perspective.  The title is from the trips’ geographical direction, but also from the personal journey I am on.

Both regions share many characteristics.  The feeling of open space is almost overwhelming.  In the day the sky is enormous, with views to weather that may be 100 or more kilometres away.  At night the sky becomes a black bowl full of stars.  Temperatures can vary from below  -40C to above +50C.  Water resources are scarce.  Trees are rare.  The wind can be unrelenting.  Plants, animals and humans that live on the land have adapted to survive.  The dry conditions have preserved the remains of lives that ended long ago, and we are left to imagine who stepped there before us. 

The one sculpture in the exhibit is titled “The Weight of Memory”.  It is a meditation on time and memory, love and loss.  Feel free to hold a feather or stone while you contemplate a memory that is important you.

Oliver artist photoMoney from the sale of my work gets channeled into educational initiatives in Africa through Plan International, in Nicaragua through Purple Hill Humanitarians, and in Haiti through Little Footprints Big Steps.  I went to Nicaragua with Purple Hill Humanitarians in 2010.  It was a very positive experience, and I saw the difference a little support can make for an individual and for a community.

Process and Medium
Photography involves looking and seeing, but it also involves feeling.  The photographer must feel his or her subject; it is not enough to see it.  It is especially by feeling that we are able to explore the hidden corners of our lives.

 I have used several techniques with the camera.  Time exposure, multiple exposure and intentional camera movement were used for some shots.  A few images were extensively altered on the computer.  Most of the images are straightforward photography with minor tweaking for exposure and shadow and colour balance. 

Sculpture is where I started in artistic expression.  I am attracted to the physicality of the process and of the end result.  For “The Weight of  Memory” I have combined wood and metal, plus found objects. The desert stones are from the ancient outwash plains of the Colorado River on the California-Arizona border, and the feathers were gathered locally. 

I have been fortunate to have had people in my life who were generous with their technical knowledge.    I am now adding to that base with summer art courses at Red Deer College and local weekend workshops.  2009 was my first show, at Pynelogs Cultural Centre in Invermere.  I have since shown at Pynelogs in 2010, 2012 and 2013.  It has been fun to be welcomed into the art community in the Columbia Valley.